Palermo delivers a mix of Byzantine mosaics, Arabesque domes and frescoed cupolas. This is a city at the edge of Europe and at the centre of the ancient world. A place where markets rub against baroque churches and where the blue-eyed and fair have bronze-skinned cousins.
Unique Mediterranean city
Palermo, the regional capital of Sicily, is one of those cities with a very distinct, almost tangible atmosphere. A place of mystery, where reality often outperforms the traveller’s imagination. It is a buzzing Mediterranean centre whose 1 million inhabitants are a fascinating cocktail of apparently conflicting characteristics.
Palermo is still somewhat of an adventure. You won’t find many restaurants with menus translated into different languages. You may have trouble communicating in English in many places, and some parts of the old town centre have remained untouched since they were bombed during the war.
The colours, the smells
The often faded grandeur of many of Palermo’s wonderful palazzi and churches in the centre gives way to popular areas where the way of life doesn’t fully belong to the 21st century. This is particularly true of the markets. Their Arabic origins are still evident today thanks to their noise, aromas and colours. Not to mention their narrow labyrinthine streets, the exotic array of food on display, and their souk-like atmospheres.
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